Why tablets are the ‘sweet spot’ of BYOD

IT budgets stretch a lot further for organisations supporting employee-owned tablets, helping them keep in check the increasing cost of managing BYOD.

Analyst firm Gartner picked apart the mobility strategies of 135 IT and business leaders in the first quarter of 2014, and found that tablet BYOD programmes offer better opportunities than enterprise-owned laptops, smartphones and tablets- and that IT departments can actually support nearly three times more users in tablet BYO in programmes than in enterprise-owned tablet programmes.

While IT leaders can spend half a million dollars to buy and support 1,000 enterprise-owned tablets, they can support over 2,745 user-owned tablets with the same budget. Without a stipend, direct costs of user-owned tablets are 64% lower.

> See also: The top 10 ways why BYOD fails

'When organisations have several users who want a tablet as a device of convenience, offering a BYOD option is the best alternative to limit cost and broaden access,' said Gartner research director Federica Troni.

According to Gartner, BYO smartphone programmes have a total cost of ownership that is very similar to those of enterprise-owned smartphones. Smartphones as part of BYOD only deliver savings when the organisation is in a position to pay partial, or do not reimburse or subsidise for voice and data plans. This typically reflects a situation where users are not fully entitled to a corporate smartphone but occasionally need one, or would like one for convenience.

'While BYO initiatives for mobile devices can lead to cost savings, it is not always the case,' said Troni. 'Organisations that are looking to broadsen device choices or expand access to mobile technology may spend the same or more under BYOD for organisation-owned devices.'

In the design of their BYOD programmes, IT departments need to make sure they target users who have the interest and business need to use a wider choice of devices for work, and feel relatively at ease with using them.

And the organisation must have a primary goal in mind, advises Gartner, whether it's cost reduction, user satisfaction or mobile expansion.

Establishing the right support structure for BYOD programmes is also crucial in containing cost and taking advantage of potential savings.

'Organisations allowing users to bring their own devices to work will have to redefine the boundaries of IT’s responsibility for end-point devices support,' said Troni. 'Users will also have to accept responsibility for handling a higher number of support issues related with their own device.'

> See also: A DIY guide to BYOD: 7 steps to follow

Another cause for the increased costs in BYOD programmes compared to corporate devices is due to the difficulty in managing voice and data costs, and setting the appropriate level of reimbursement.

'A balanced mix of enterprise-owned and user-owned devices with different levels of stipends will be the most effective way of capitalising the benefits of BYOD programmes, both in terms of cost reduction and in terms of level of access to mobile technology,' Troni concluded.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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